2017 is here. I’ve started the year off right by posting reviews on Rogue One, Nighthawk issue #4, and starting my new series on heroes the DC Comics Extended Universe desperately needs. We’re close to the start of the madness. March starts us off with Hugh Jackman’s last stand as the mutant badass, Wolverine. It will be a movie filled with emotion. Hugh Jackman has given us his all for almost 20 years as Wolverine. While I’m excited for the character to be cast again, Hugh deserves nothing but respect.
Power Rangers comes out next on March 24th. Forget Marvel and DC for a moment. These teens were my everything when I was younger. The two trailers have been exciting. As long as I can tell the cast had fun, and I’m having fun, this movie will be everything I ever hoped for. Diversity is the name of the game. When you look at that cast, not many action movies have such great diversity. The original Mighty Morphing Power Rangers received hate because they made the yellow ranger and Asian and the black ranger was a black male. The decision to change the races of the original characters only enhances my excitement for this film. This, and Logan? March is going to be special.
Fast forward to May. This article is about the MCU, and in May, we return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 looks like it will possess the same magic as the first. Funny, action-packed, but still filled with heart. The two trailers we’ve gotten haven’t even given us a glimpse at the story for this movie. I love that. I want to go in knowing as little as possible, but still see enough to get excited. Guardians did that exact thing with the first film.
Peter Parker makes his solo MCU debut this July. I don’t need to dig deep about why this film is important. Throw in the fact that Tom Holland is perfect as Spider-Man. There are some concerns I have with the film, but if I’m laughing and connecting with Spidey, I won’t judge this film too harshly.
The last film the MCU has coming out in 2017 is Thor 3. I’m not particularly excited for this film. Thor has had arguably the two worst films in the MCU. Not to mention this film comes out the same time as DC’s Justice League. Although I’m not excited for Justice League, the potential for that film is off the charts. There is a higher possibility that Justice League has better moments and may be a better film than Thor 3. Despite all of that, it’s impressive that Thor will have three movies by the time 2017 is over.
All of that is nice, seriously I can hardly contain my excitement, but 2018 is bigger than 2017. Personally, as a black male, when Black Panther comes out in 2018, I’ll probably shed tears. The fact the Marvel Studios has gotten behind the character as much as they’ve have, makes me joyous beyond description. Chadwick Boseman is perfect as the King of Wakanda. Ryan Coogler is one of the most honest, brilliant up-and-coming directors working today. Marvel Studios has tremendous senses when it comes to finding talent. If everything comes together, it will be the greatest Marvel movie ever. A little bit later, we’re supposed to receive our second Ant-Man film. This time though, we get the Wasp too! Both of them should have been on the Avengers from the start, but they were a hard sell. Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly have great chemistry on screen. Their next adventure will no doubt leave us happy and entertained.
In between those two films comes the big one. The one this article is all about. When the MCU first started, this is what it was about. The continuous Easter Eggs, the connections, the name drops, everything leads to Avengers: Infinity War. This film is going to change superhero cinema. I say that because, by the time we see it, it will be the realization of 10 years (and a breathtaking 18 movies) of hard work. That’s a very long time for a franchise to thrive. Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars are some of the few who have endured such success. If Avengers: Infinity War works the way Marvel Studios intends, this will prove their staying power as one of the greatest franchises of all time.
By the time this movie rolls around, I want three very particular things to happen in this film. Everyone has their own preferences about what they want to see in this film. The three things I’m going to talk about below are the main things I NEED to see in this film in order for it to reach legendary status. This isn’t in any particular order. Each of these things are just as important as the next. If all three happen, this will be my favorite superhero film of all time, beating out Spider-Man 2, The Dark Knight Rises, Civil War, and Black Panther (I know the film hasn’t come out yet, but there’s no way I’ll dislike the film unless Donald Trump makes a cameo.)
- Connection to the Television/Netflix Universe
This is HUGE for me. The Easter Eggs I’ve mentioned before have been more noticeable here than any other movie. The television show Agents of SHIELD and the Netflix shows Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist all exist in the MCU. There have been multiple name drops throughout both shows. “The Green Guy” or the “Man with the hammer.” The Avengers have made their presence known. The battle in New York in the first Avengers movie changed things. Tony Stark announcing he’s Iron Man changed things. When Avengers: Infinity War comes out, I want hard, stone-cold proof that these characters know each other. I’m not asking for Matt Murdock to have a significant role in the movie, but I need to see the proof there is a connection.
This is an easy thing to do. A good chunk of these characters live in New York. Spider-Man will be in Avengers: Infinity War. They can do a quick scene of him fighting in Harlem, and then all of a sudden, Luke Cage shows up. Their conversation can go a myriad of ways. Spidey starts messing with him about his yellow shirt. Luke tells Spidey something like, “I thought I told you stop messing up my neighborhood.” This would establish the proof that I need to believe these characters interact. This can go in any direction with almost any character. Tony Stark travels to Hell’s Kitchen to meet a business associate, meeting goes wrong and Daredevil shows up. The Avengers needs some extra muscle early in the film, Nick Fury makes a few calls, Agent Coulson shows up with some of the cast from Agents of SHIELD. There are a million more possibilities that can happen in this film. Seeing Spider-Man talk go back and forth with Captain America was a dream come true. Seeing the growth of the small, almost invisible relationship between Ant-Man and Falcon was amazing. Comics have a way of making the most of the smallest interactions. By the time this film comes out, I don’t give a damn how long it is. Make this film three and half hours long. Seeing a connection to the “lower” parts of the MCU will make the MCU feel much more real.
- Death, Death, and more Death
This is one of the biggest critiques about the MCU. To be fair, this is a major critique of comic books in general. I find this a lame critique though sometimes because people in our society are obsessed with death. While I’ve enjoyed the longevity our heroes have enjoyed to this point, come Infinity War, something needs to change.
If you don’t kill a character at the right time, their death feels weak, it doesn’t feel earned. DC did that with Superman in Batman v. Superman. His death felt stilted for sure. I was just ready to stretch my legs by the time his death rolled around. Comics aren’t about the death of characters though. Most characters have “died” at one point in comics anyways. Comics are about the journey the characters take us on. We learn about these character’s strengths, but their weaknesses keep us coming back. Sometimes they remind us of ourselves, our own flaws. Whatever the case may be, death isn’t a necessity when building up a universe.
For example, in Batman’s new Rebirth run, the first arc involved him encountering a superhero duo. A brother and sister who had Superman-like abilities. They went by the name Gotham and Gotham Girl. The arc was my favorite so far of his rebirth run. Gotham ended up losing his mind. He was being mind-controlled. The only solution in his mind was to destroy Gotham City. So, he goes on a rampage. Batman calls in the Justice League, but to no avail. Gotham can use his abilities to become a god for an unlimited amount of time, but in exchange for his life. There is no hope for Batman. The only way he sees out of this is to trick Gotham. Batman tells Gotham that the city of Gotham is nothing but brick and concrete. That the city hasn’t failed him again and again. Batman says that all that failure lies on his shoulders. He yells, “I am Gotham, kill me!” Now, we all know Batman isn’t going to die here. Money and politics are the top two reasons. But are you serious? When do you hear Batman voice frustrations like that regarding his career? This story was such a good one because Bruce seriously questioned his status as a superhero. Freaking Batman thinks he isn’t good enough. Don’t need death to drive that point home.
The journey has gone on for quite some time in the MCU. 18 movies by the time Infinity War comes out. We will know EVERY hero’s flaws and motivations. Every character that is a part of the Avengers has had their moments. The Guardians of the Galaxy will be in Infinity War too. We’ll have had two movies of them by then. Spider-Man’s solo debut will be out. Black Panther’s solo debut will be out. There is absolutely no reason that at least three main characters die in this film. I’m predicting that either Tony Stark or Steve Rogers will sacrifice themselves at some point. The others who die could be anybody. Rocket Raccoon, Vision, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Thor, Gamora, anyone. All of them have been on this journey with us for a while. What’s the point of this film if there are zero consequences? Thanos is one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe. If he gets that gauntlet and all the gems, almost no one can stop him. The Avengers should be in shambles by the end of this film. I know a bulk of these characters make money. But I dream of an Avengers film with Sam Wilson as Captain America, Sam Alexander as Nova, Miles Morales as Spider-Man, Kamala Khan as Miss Marvel, and Jane Foster as Thor. This will never happen unless one of two things happen. Marvel studios commits to the multiverse (which was brought up in Doctor Strange so this is a possibility) or the characters we’ve known for the last 9 years die. It must happen.
- Introduction of a new character
This one is important because Infinity War should start a new chapter for the MCU. If Iron Man dies, they need someone new to be the Tony Stark of the universe. Marvel is transitioning from him as the flagship hero in the comics, maybe the same will happen in the films. Robert Downey Jr. has done more than enough as the billionaire, playboy, philanthropist. But it’s time to move on. My point earlier stated that Thanos is one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe. That statement itself doesn’t do his power justice. The Avengers are going to need help to beat him. That help will come from the Guardians sure, it may come from the Defenders, but someone a bit stronger is needed.
This is a perfect opportunity to introduce us to a new character in the MCU. The easiest one I can think of is Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel. The main reason she is easy is because she’s been announced as the character. Her introduction could be a simple one like Black Panther’s in Captain America: Civil War. The Russo’s did a fantastic job fitting T’Challa in that film while not making him a star. He was in the film for the right amount, but his presence was undeniable. How awesome would it be if Captain Marvel, a woman, is the one responsible for Thanos’ downfall? Carol Danvers is sort of a punk in the comics right now. She’s interesting, but still a punk. They could adapt that character into Larson’s character and they have their own unique Captain Marvel.
Another character who could easily be put into this film is Adam Warlock. Hell, if they go off the comics, he could be the main character. Warlock could be the bridge in this movie between the Avengers and the Guardians. No doubt we’re going to see a fun fight between the two teams when they first meet. Maybe Groot vs. Hulk or a quick fight between Drax and Cap. Warlock is a perfect character to introduce given his role in the Infinity Gauntlet story. Characters such as Ant-Man, Vision, and Doctor Strange are much harder sells to me than Warlock. His introduction into the MCU can be a painless one.
Both characters have powers some of our heroes don’t too. They are elite in their strength, speed, and power. Thor is up there as well, but the movies have yet to show his true power. I feel like either one could easily be incorporated into the film’s plot. It isn’t as important for me as the other two points, but it would help the plot of this movie tremendously. I wish the Inhumans were still getting their movie in the MCU. Their introduction would fit well here too. Imagine Black Bolt screaming Thanos into a new dimension. But since they’re getting a television show, we’ll see how that plays out.
Avengers: Infinity War can have the best action sequences I’ve ever seen in my life, the world’s most solid plot, and a well-done ending, but if it doesn’t have these three components I mentioned, the film will always feel tainted to me. This is the point of the Easter Eggs. This is why this universe was started. Infinity War will show us what Marvel Studios is all about. Connection to the other universes, death, and the introduction of a new character are the three things I need in this movie for it to be legendary. There will be superhero films after this and there have been legendary ones before it. To stand out, this film needs to take risks. Abandon the MCU formula for a while to craft the best superhero event people have ever seen. It can be done. I have faith in them. And I can’t wait for this movie to come out.